Wednesday, April 4, 2018

[OPENING ALERT] Crafthall Kitchen to Soft Open Thursday

A new food concept in Sandy Springs called Crafthall Kitchen, about which we first reported in November, plans to "soft open" Thursday April 5 .  The restaurant, a collection of four concepts in one space, allows customers to choose from menus across the four concepts from a single counter.  
The self-service ordering stations at Crafthall Kitchen 

Crafthall Kitchen is located in Perimeter Center West,  a center anchored by REI and Goodwill, and also home to eateries such as la Madeleine, Honey Baked Ham and Zo√ęs Kitchen.   Jennifer Rotondo is the entrepreneur behind Crafthall Kitchen and brings a background in restaurant marketing to the new concept.  Rotondo, whose husband is Mike Rotondo, CEO of Tropical Smoothie Cafe, was herself previously Director of Marketing for the smoothie franchise.  

1,600 square foot Crafthall Kitchen occupies the space remaining from Genghis Grill to the left of Tiff's Treats, which occupies the other portion of the failed Asian eatery.   Crafthall Kitchen will be an incubator of sorts, where its four concepts may come and go depending upon the public's reception to them.  

If successful, additional Crafthall Kitchens and potentially standalone units of some of the concept's brands could open in the months and years to come, according to Rotondo.  
Television menu boards that rotate between menu visuals and descriptions 

The first four food genres Crafthall will offer will be fried chicken [Fowl and Scratch], bowls [Bowl Cookhouse],  sandwiches [Urban Sammie], and brunch [Salt & Pfeffer].  Salt & Pfeffer, which will offer assorted hash bowls, grit bowls and waffles, was selected by popular vote and will be open all day for customers' brunch cravings.  

Patrons order their food from a pair of self service stations that allow full menu customization.  The proprietary POS (Point of Sale) system was developed especially for Crafthall Kitchen and allows patrons to order from the menus of all four concepts in a single transaction.  Customers will have the opportunity to choose from about 25 different entree options between the four menus.   Given the amount of customization that is possible, it's difficult  to say what an average check would be, but given the base prices, a customer would likely spend $10-12 on an average meal.  

The size of the restaurant, along with the automation of the ordering process, allowed for Rotondo to hire a small but highly skilled and experienced culinary team that will surely be needed given the diversity of the menu.  
Customizeable menu items from Bowl Cookhouse w/ Braille 
Customizeable menu items from Salt & Pfeffer w/ Braille 

The restaurant's interior, which Rotondo describes as "cozy," provides seating for about 30, and while she would love to provide her patrons an al fresco dining experience, that is not something she will be able to offer.  

Crafthall Kitchen is open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM until 9 PM, and for the safety of its customers and staff, will be a cashless business.  

Are you excited to try Crafthall Kitchen?  What are your thoughts on the initial four concepts for Crafthall Kitchen?  If Crafthall does takeoff, where would you like to see another open?  

Please share your thoughts below. 


Anonymous said...

Sounds interesting, although I would guess that some people would have a hard time with the automated ordering system and that doesn't even take into account any computer glitches. I'm certainly going to give them a try and hope they succeed. Since my family can never seem to get together on choosing one restaurant, this would be like having four to choose from in one place!

Ham said...

Yes, it does sound interesting. I was at that Center Sunday and was curious what the status was, so once again great information here at this site.

Again, it does sound interesting, but the devil is indeed in the details. If they hope to tap into the large lunch crowd in that area they will need to be consistent with cycle times and food quality or people will simply go somewhere else.

Greenwave said...

I went today. I built my own bowl with kale, sweet potatoes, black rice, chicken, & cilantro. I also got a honey brioche bun. I placed my order on the iPad and it printed out 2 receipts, 1 for me and 1 for them. Since the place only takes cards, you just insert your payment like any other location. Pretty straight forward. The food was very fresh and tasted great.

There are only 2 POS(which are 2 iPad Pros) so once this place really gets revved up, you'll get annoyed by people who don't know what they want to eat standing in front of the iPad. It seats around 35 people I think so I will be back here but I will definitely place orders online to pickup.

Anonymous said...

I give it 6 months. Pick a concept, any concept sounds like a card magician asking one to pick a card.
this concept will waste a lot of food from the unpopular sections.

KFC and Taco Bell already do this at many of their restaurants, as does Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robins. Yawn.. Nothing new here.

Crafthall will be jack of all concepts, masters of none.

Anonymous said...

@Anon @ 2:49PM - Wow. You're the epitome of what's wrong with people today.

Alex said...

Cashless = Racist!

jeff a. taylor said...

Like others have said, down to execution and quality. Not terribly different from Fresh To Go does with a finite number of ingredients it repurposes to radically different ends to create some selection. The brunch all day could be a difference maker as we all know someone who always wants to be at Waffle House.

ImAndy said...

This is absolutely disgusting and the Board of Health needs to stop this trend. Same with Coke Freestyle machines im not ordering on a touch screen that hundreds of people touch a day and then eat food. Not happening. I will never visit this place.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 2:55 PM - Wow. Look in the mirror you elitist snot!

Anon @ 3:00 PM - Yep, everything is Racist!

Anonymous said...

@Anon 3pm: Racist? I guess you're right - assuming that certain races are unable to get credit cards is pretty racist of you.

and @Anon're really comparing Taco Bell/KFC and Dunkin/BR to this concept? First of all, this is 4 totally different styles of food and they can evolve to remove items and/or concepts that prove unpopular. The above poster's order of a bowl with kale, sweet potatoes, black rice, chicken, & cilantro sounds a little different than what you can order at KFC/Taco Bell/Dunkin/BR.

Anonymous said...

Aren't the hands that touch the touch screen the same ones that grab the door handle to enter the restaurant?

Anon said...

Went for lunch today and LOVED it. Menu items are creative and delicious together. Had a bowl. Companion had a Sammie. Hope they build one near me.

Anon said...

After reading your comments, I told Jennifer it might be a good idea to put some hand sanitizer by the touch screen

Anonymous said...

Omg! Where did your parents go wrong? Mine ALWAYS told me to wash my hands before dinner. Washing your hands properly will get the dirt and germs off your hands. I agree that the self ordering tablets are not clean but people should make it a habit to wash your hands properly before eating. Hand sanitizer is a good option but I personal don't like the film some leave behind. It also looks like the would need more than two tablets for ordering during busy hours.

Anonymous said...

So how does this work do they hand you your clean cup and wrapped straw after you touch their dirty infected screen and then do you take the cup and straw into a fecal splattered bathroom to wash your hands? In comparison to walking in and washing your hands and ordering and eating your food with clean hands ?

Anonymous said...

They should have a sink outside the restrooms like cookout does. Love cookout. That way you wash your hands right before you eat and don't touch the door.

Anonymous said...

Enough with the germ posts! We're getting a little carried away here. If you have concerns, place your order, then wash your hands before picking up your order! Or wear gloves. And a mask! Either way, give this place a try! Yummy!!

Anonymous said...

Education and Assimilation - but that would be Racist

Anonymous said...

I would place my order and wash my hands but can you answer do they hand everybody their drink cup before they head into the bathroom and urine splatters on the drink cup?